Friday, November 22, 2013

Historical jobs factoid

To be very clear up front, we are deep inside the realm of measurement error and all sorts of short term transients.... but, it's hard to not note a little factoid that comes out of today's dump of regional employment data.  There was a decent chunk of year over year job growth for the region as a whole, but a drop in manufacturing employment. Together it works out that the percentage of jobs in the region that are in the manufacturing sector has dropped to its all time (as in ever) low, albeit you have to go to a 4th decimal place to say that. 7.495% of regional jobs are registering at manufacturing establishments.  Now below the brief drop to 7.497% as the region suffered the worst of the fallout from the "Great Recession" and the credit freeze that impacted all investment. That one data point you could have written off as a macroeconomic transient, but harder to discount current data which looks like a trend.  Also what some still don't believe, but locally the  % of jobs in manufacturing is well below the comparable % for the nation (8.77%).  The region would need to gain over 15K manufacturing jobs just to get to a national average.  Not likely soon when current prospects are for a few more drops including the Horseheads Zinc plant in beaver County due to close at the end of the year, though possibly extended a bit into the new year.

I just point that out because repeatedly people tell me there is some big jump in manufacturing employment specifically here in Pittsburgh.  I suspect it is a perception driven by a lot of advertising to that effect.  But if you look at the data you get this

and just to overparse, the October data is showing a year over year increase in "Education and Health Care" jobs of +8,600 which is the single biggest year over year change in any month going back to January 1990, which is all that is in the current dataset. So two historic factoids for the price of one.


Blogger joe said...

Took this post as an opportunity to update a chart I with all the proper and necessary caveats re: estimates, etc....looks like 5,200 of those 8,600 "Education and Health Care" jobs were in "Health Care and Social Assistance," and within that group, here's the 10 yr trend:

Pittsburgh Area Health Care and Social Assistance Employment 2003-2013

Would be interesting to look at how our area stacks up against others -- we still have a ways to go in our move toward ambulatory care and home & community-based services.

*btw, would love to see a trend chart from the local reCAPTCHA geeks on how many resets it now takes the average user to "see" a legible "prove you're not a robot" thingy...

Saturday, November 23, 2013 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Of course the recent robust local growth in Professional and Business Services, Education and Health Services, Financial Activities, and so forth is part of why the PGH MSA has also been doing relatively well recently in terms of per capita real GDP growth, per capita personal income growth, average wage growth, and so on.

Saturday, November 23, 2013 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger joe said...

Compared Pittsburgh to Portland, OR on workers per 1000 elderly and it confirmed the Dartmouth Atlas findings cited in this PG article from Feb 2012:

Gerard Anderson, a health policy specialist at Johns Hopkins University, agreed that "places like Pittsburgh develop certain practice patterns and all the doctors seem to conform to those practice patterns." So, for example, while a child with a sore throat might be treated with antibiotics in one region, she might be scheduled for a tonsillectomy more quickly here.

But Mr. Anderson also said the high number of preventable hospitalizations is striking, with more than 90 per 1,000 Medicare enrollees being admitted for conditions that should not have required hospitalization, while places such as Denver, Portland and Seattle had just over 40 per 1,000 enrollees.

"That tells me that we're not getting good care in the ambulatory setting. A lot of things are being missed in Pittsburgh that result in hospitalization," he said.

Given what we know about supply-induced health service utilization (i.e., if we build it they must come), hard to know how much is really demand for hospital care because of sub-optimal ambulatory care vs. we have the capacity so the hospital beds get filled.

Here's the chart: Pittsburgh vs. Portland - Health Care & Social Assistance workers per 1000 elderly (65+), 2012.

Saturday, November 23, 2013 8:43:00 PM  
Blogger joe said...

...and just for the Nullspace comment archives, here's Pittsburgh vs. Seattle, Portland and Denver, Hospital and Ambulatory Health Care Services workers per 1000 elderly, 2012.

Sorry to hijack this thread about manufacturing employment with these health care employment stats, but....

Based on the higher quality practice patterns observed in other markets, is there an optimal number of hospital workers per 1000 elderly? If that number is down around where Portland and Denver are now (~110), for the Pittsburgh region to get there it would mean the transition of roughly 25 jobs per 1000 elderly out of hospitals and into ambulatory care settings, or roughly 10,250 hospital jobs in our region of 410,509 persons 65+.

All of the above assumes no great measurement error in terms of how workers are classified as "hospital" vs. "ambulatory health care services" in the BLS data.

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